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Make them Subscribe: 6 Tips to Build Subscriptions

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feedburner-logoAs much as we all love visitors to our site and watching our Google Analytics tick up, RSS subscribers, for most blogs, are more valuable.

Not only are they some of your more frequent visitors, thus helping with your aforementioned traffic, but they are also your best community members, leaving the most comments and adding the most to your site.

Where a non-subscriber may visit your site once, once a week or whenever they remember to check out your blog, those who get your RSS feed interact with your content much more regularly, usually soon after you post.

So how do you turn casual readers or even repeated readers into subscribers? There’s no magic bullet and you certainly can’t win over everyone, but there are things you can do to encourage them to take that extra step and become more involved in your site.

Here are just a few.

When trying to get your readers to subscribe to your site, it pays to look at your own RSS reader (if you have one) to see what sites you added and why. Once you understand what it was that made you click, it’s easier to figure out how to draw readers to your own feed.

Beyond that, here are a few things to consider as a part of any effort to attract new subscribers.

1. Consistent Content

Blogs that have a variety of content tend to do better in search engines but do poorly with subscribers. On the flip side, blogs with consistent content encourage people who are interested in that topic to subscribe.

Work within a niche and grow inside it. If people feel they know what to expect from your blog and the signal to noise ratio is favorable, they likely will add you to their RSS reader. If that isn’t possible, you can always add a recurring column to your site that readers can depend on and expect.

If you do that, you’ve giving them something that they might miss if they don’t follow your site more closely and that’s a powerful motivator in subscribing.

2. Full RSS Feeds

This one really doesn’t need too much explanation, but offering a full RSS feed is important as they are strongly preferred to partial feeds by subscribers. Even better, partial feeds do not dramatically increase the number of clikcthroughs the feed sees, meaning that readers are not likely to “avoid your site” by getting the full feeds.

There are risks associated with full feeds, one of the bigger ones being content theft. But as you can see in the article above, there are ways you can protect your content from spammers without truncating your feed content. Those methods are much less annoying to readers than having to click through to your site to read the full content.

That, in turn, gives readers a good reason to subscribe to your feed, making it much more valuable to them.

3. Clear RSS Icons

If you want RSS subscribers, you have to make them a priority on your site and that means modifying your site’s theme to include prominent and clear RSS icons.

Though you don’t want to go overboard, it should be clear at a glance where and how users can subscribe to your site. The easier you make it to subscribe, the more people who will do so.

Whatever you do though, do not rely on feed autodetection alone to get your users to subscribe, not only do many people not know how to use it, it also doesn’t work well with many of the most popular subscription methods.

4. Add an Email Option

Many people aren’t comfortable with RSS readers and don’t wish to use one just to read your site. However, nearly everyone has an email account (or seven) and most subscribe to some email newsletters.

If your site caters to a tech-savvy audience, this may not be very crucial, but if your readers are not the type to have a Google Reader account handy, it can be a major boost for your RSS subscriber stats. However, even on Plagiarism Today, which does cater primarily to other bloggers, about 10% of all subscriptions are via email. More than double the people get my feed via email than Newsgator.

Even if it isn’t the main way your readers get your feed, it can provide a great boost to your stats.

5. RSS-Only Content

Given how easy it is to edit your RSS feed, especially with WordPress plugins, it is trivial to add content to the feed that is not available to readers of your Web page. Whether it’s a link to a free eBook, a hidden Web page or a free article, if you add content that only your feed readers have access to, it provides an extra motivation to join, even if just for curiosity.

This method comes with two risks. First, it can alienate non-RSS readers and it can also turn your feed into a novelty where people subscribe just to get the content and then immediately leave.

If you decide to try this, make sure that there are enough reasons for your readers to stay subscribed to your feed independent of this additional content. In short, make sure it is a bonus, not the sales pitch.

6. Consider FeedBurner

FeedBurner, which is now owned by Google, can be very useful for attracting new subscribers. Not only does it allow you to do things such as show your subscriber count publicly, which encourages others to subscribe by showing them that others are reading, thus making them a part of a community, it also makes it is a trusted name and it improves your feed’s reliability by keeping your feed alive even when your site goes down.

However, there are reasons to be wary. You’re handing over one of your site’s most important assets to a third party and FeedBurner is not flawless. It limits what you can do with your feed, especially in terms of blocking unwanted subscribers, such as spammers, and can be difficult to leave.

That being said, it has a variety of promotion tools/features and can help you simplify your feed experience for your users. It’s not right for every site but it is worth looking at.

Bottom Line

In short, there’s no magic formula for encouraging subscriptions to your site. You just need to remember these steps.

  1. Create Content That People Want to Subscribe To
  2. Promote Your Feed to Your Readers
  3. Remove Barriers to Subscription

If you can do that, your subscriber numbers will, almost inevitably, begin to tick up. However, the work does not end there, you still need to continue providing quality content and giving existing subscribers a reason to not delete you feed. In short, keep the signal level high, keep your posting reasonable (not too fast or slow) and keep up your promotion.

Growth is more than just adding new subscribers, it means keeping your old ones and, over the long term, that is actually the greater of the two challenges.

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Blogging

Are You Chasing the Flavor of the Month?

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My first fundamental of successful blogging focuses you on being present.

All of our power resides in the moment.

None of our power resides in the future or past because neither exists.

Time is illusion.

Only Now is real.

Look at that brilliant featured image. I snapped it from the front porch during our trip to Fiji. Sweet things happen when you are in the moment, focusing all power on the present.

This marks my 796th blog post on Blogging Tips. I feel grateful to Zac for the opportunity to serve you. Plus I feel grateful for all success that flowed to me through these guest posts.

How in the heck did I write and publish nearly 800 guest posts on one blog?

I am in the moment, mostly. I am present. Plus I never, never, ever chase the flavor of the month.

Bruce Lee and Blogging

Alonzo Pichardo and I often chatted about being patient, persistent and present during the Online Success Chats Podcast.

Being patient, persistent and present helps you tap into immense powers, including the power of being creative *and* prolific. See my 800 blog posts on Blogging Tips as evidence of such power. Toss in my 2,008 articles (between posts and pages) on Blogging From Paradise and you understand: focusing on one core task, or core purpose, in the present, leads to amazing things.

Bruce Lee spoke of fearing not the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once, but he did fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times. He embodied this mindset in his genius, Renaissance Man type ways.

Lee’s wisdom and physical prowess are both timeless because he understood and lived this great truth: do 1 thing so frequently, with a focused energy, being in the moment, that you do it incredibly well. He understood the truth of how I live my life: where your attention and energy goes, grows.

The Flavor of the Month

Most bloggers struggle because they practice 10,000 kicks once, chasing hot niches, running after trends, and choosing to blog today, and podcast tomorrow, because everybody runs a podcast these days. Wait a second; live video reigns supreme? Time to become a live video expert. Meanwhile, as you jump from niche to niche, and from blogging to podcasting to live videos, I just wrote and published 800 posts on Blogging Tips alone. Plus I wrote and published 1,000 more guest posts on other blogs.

While most bloggers chase hot trends, profitable niches and the latest game changing opportunity, guys like Alonzo and I thrive by doing one thing alone so we do it incredibly well.

Success is yours, but success is not an overnight or week-long endeavor.

Stop chasing hot niches. Visualize your dreams in detail. Focus on your blogging wins. Invest in coaching and courses from top bloggers. Surround yourself with positive vibes and positive people.

Write, publish and connect with top bloggers by helping top bloggers.

Success Finds Specialists

I took a nap this afternoon. A calm, peaceful breeze kisses my face right now as I write and enjoy the day.

Imagine if you could work from home every day? Visualize that fun and freedom.

Sweet, right?

Specialists are the only folks who work from home full time. People who do 1 thing persistently, practicing this skill, so they become super skilled in a single, specialized niche.

I gave all of my professional energy to being a blogger for the past 10 years. I became really skilled at blogging because I never chased the flavor of the month.

Avoid program hopping, niche hopping and all forms of flavor-chasing.

Do one thing. Do it well.

Succeed.

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Blogging

What Is the Incredibly Easiest Way to Drive Blog Traffic?

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Drive traffic to other blogs.

Give what you want.

Help people get what they want and people help you get what you want.

I have found this to be the easiest way to drive traffic to my blog because friends I made through cross-promotion promote me around the clock, 24-7, 365. Easy peasy.

I checked my Twitter a few moments ago. During the past 3 hours I noticed 11 mentions, engagements and retweets collectively. 3 hours, 11 engagements, more blog traffic.

I drive a heavy amount of traffic to my blog by driving a heavy amount of traffic to fellow bloggers who drive a heavy amount of traffic to Blogging From Paradise every day, all day long.

The more you give, the more you get.

The hardest way to drive blog traffic is to try to do it solo. Imagine publishing one post and hitting social share buttons. Even if I do a fine job writing the post, gaining traction solo is tough because successful bloggers know: 1000 is better than 1. 1000 blogging buddies promoting you 24-7, 365 beats you promoting yourself or you trying to write and publish 5 to 10 or more posts daily.

I used to publish 60 posts daily between 2 blogs. Short videos and short posts created the bulk of the content. I had a difficult time succeeding because you can only do so much solo. I published 60 posts in a cyber cave. Nobody listened to me because I did not listen to anybody. But making friends by driving traffic to other blogs made blogging easier and easier for me.

My blogging buddies – who appreciate me promoting them – freely:

  • link to me on their blogs
  • retweet my posts
  • share my posts on Facebook
  • share my posts on LinkedIn
  • send my blog posts to their email list

That my friends is a lot of traffic flowing to my blog easily, freely and exponentially.

Every time a blogging buddy promotes you to their tribe you gain exposure to one more large, targeted audience. Imagine when you gain exposure in front of 10, 50, 100 and 1,000 or more audiences daily? This is serious traffic! Plus it is easy traffic because your prime duties of reading posts and tapping social share buttons, or, linking to fellow bloggers on your blog, are quite easy.

How to Drive Traffic to other Blogs

I spent a fair chunk of today driving traffic to other blogs.

I promoted some of my blog posts linking to my blogging buddies. I also retweeted and Facebook shared posts from other bloggers.

Each share lays the foundation for new blogging friendships and fortifies old blogging friendships. Every time I promote Donna Merrill or Alonzo Pichardo, we bond more deeply. Easy way to keep friendships strong and to grow your blog traffic exponentially.

You Will Run out of Time Solo But You Never Run out of Friends

Eventually, I ran out of time each day trying to do it all by myself. No human is super human. No human can be in a billion places at once, by their own steam.

But you never run out of friends if you are generous. During a reasonable lifetime, no blogger will befriend all 7 billion humans. You will however keep meeting friends every day if you drive traffic to other blogs every day.

As more folks befriend you, more folks promote you. What an easy way to increase traffic to your blog. Your ever expanding friend network does much of the legwork for you and also drives traffic to your blog:

  • when you sleep
  • when you travel
  • when you spend time offline with family and friends

Sounds sweet, right?

Give freely.

Drive traffic to your blog easily.

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Blogging

What Are 2 Powerful Qualities of Top Bloggers?

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John Chow and Bigfoot.

No correlation exists save this post. Although John is super tall. I met him in person during Affiliate Summit East.

Both JC and Bigfoot taught me 2 incredibly powerful qualities of top bloggers.

John taught me how to think abundantly.

Bigfoot taught me to be open-minded and to think for myself.

Think Abundantly

A while back I recall reading a post on John’s blog.

He explained how being an Amazon Associate creates a steady passive income stream.

For an example, he showed how linking to a product your audience finds useful – in the proper context – leads to blogging profits. At the time, I admired his strategy but could not get why you’d link to an affiliate product for a measly $2 commission. But of course, John thinks like, feels like and is a multi millionaire so he thinks of acquiring increasing wealth versus thinking of how little he makes on certain commissions.

$2 adds to the John Chow millions. Plus, even if JC began blogging yesterday, at zero, he thought like a millionaire well before becoming a millionaire, so he would have made his first $2 on his way to millions.

These days, I think, feel and act abundantly. I celebrate every penny I make online because where your attention and energy goes, grows. Top bloggers think abundantly. If you think, feel and act abundantly, at year’s end, the $2 commission per sale yields $500,to $1000, to $5000 per a single income stream because the more you celebrate money and feel rich, the more money you make.

Top bloggers think: money. Open 5, 10, 15 or more income streams. Seize every opportunity to prosper. $2, there, and 100 sales later, you made $200. Top bloggers think abundance – versus lack – and make money.

Be Open Minded and Think for Yourself

As you know, I love studying the creature Bigfoot.

Most humans are closed-minded and follow the herd, being lazy thinkers, and simply agreed with the herd; naturally, these folks believe Bigfoot is a myth.

A handful of YouTube videos of Bigfoot scientifically breakdown:

  • the size of these creatures: 7-10 foot tall, up to 5 feet wide, and 500-900 pounds
  • the physiology of these creatures; compliant gate, 90% knee flexion, absence of neck, hulking trap muscles, heavy brow ridge
  • the sounds these creatures make; clearly not within our current animal kingdom

If you are open-minded and think for yourself, you clearly see a huge, primate-type creature with some human-like qualities appears in these videos. Truth reveals itself to clear, deeper thinks.

But if you are closed-minded and agree with the herd, you become blind to the truth and see a guy in a suit, or hoax, in these handful of legit Sasquatch videos.

Like the small group of humans who know Sasquatch exist, top bloggers are both open-minded and do their own thinking. Successful bloggers open up to new strategies and new income streams. Plus these top folks never agree with the herd just because most people think a certain way; these pros think critically, for themselves.

I think incredibly deeply about blogging, and mindset, and see parallels no blogger on earth sees, save me. Why? I am open-minded and do my own thinking, for myself, never being swayed by the general public and its poisonous, limiting skepticism.

You almost have to be insane *not* to believe in Bigfoot after scientific video breakdowns and tens of thousands of credible eye-witnesses prove these encounters are with large primates, not humans in suits. Even a 300 pound, pro bodybuilder would look like a 5 year old trying to fit in his dad’s suit if he tried to wear a suit with dimensions for a 9 foot tall, 800 pound being.

In the same breath, you really need to be out there, if you are so closed-minded and agreeing with the poor masses, that you are blind to the truth of abundance around you, as a blogger.

Think abundance.

Open your mind.

Think for yourself.

Succeed.

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